Combination of Poor Infrastructure and Corruption Hurting Public Services: NGO
The government is failing to provide its citizens with basic public services as the country continues to grapple with poor infrastructure, inadequate health services and corrupt government officials, activists said on Wednesday.
Fransisca Fitri from Yappika, a nonprofit public service organization, said that despite the 2009 law on public services, the government has not lived up to its promise to provide citizens with basic amenities.
She pointed out that only those who could afford to pay for health services could get proper treatment in hospitals, while most citizens struggled to access health care.
Reports of incidents such as the collapsing roof at a dilapidated public elementary school in Central Jakarta that injured three of its students and traffic accidents related to the damaged roads that criss-cross the capital highlight the chronic state of basic public services in the country, she said.
“Why did it happen? It happened because the government has provided low-quality public services in the first place,” she said.
Even obtaining an identification card, known as a KTP, is a struggle, as government officials at the urban ward offices often only move to process the request after receiving a bribe.
Dela, 68, a resident of Muara Baru in North Jakarta, said on the sidelines of the public service discussion organized by Yappika that she had to pay the official at her urban ward office Rp 200,000 ($23) to process her identification card application even through it was supposed to be free of charge.
Although Dela considered Rp 200,000 a large sum, she paid the officer because a KTP was necessary for processing other documents.
“I don’t have a choice but to spend Rp 200,000 even though I cannot afford it,” she said.
The Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Jakarta) said it had received reports from 12,000 people regarding the lack of public services since the start of last year.
The complaints are related to health services, public transportation, road infrastructure and difficulties in obtaining a KTP.
Muhammad Reza Sahib from the People’s Coalition on Rights to Water (KRuHA) said that privatizing public services made it even more difficult for people to access the public services they required.
He gave the examples of water management in Jakarta, which is partly handled by private companies, and the government’s practice of selling some of its public hospitals to be run by the private sector. Elisabeth Oktofani
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